Palmisano, credited with helping transform the once PC-focused company into a services company during a near-decade-long run starting in 2002, will stay on as chairman. Global sales head Virginia Rometty (pictured) will replace him as chief exec.
IBM also said yesterday it will add $7bn (£4.4bn) to its share buyback programme in the latest instalment of its plan to hand back $50bn to investors.
The computer services giant also said it will pay a quarterly dividend of 75 cents, maintaining its continuous run of dividends every three months since 1916. The buyback is in addition to $5.2bn still outstanding from a prior scheme, bringing the total to $12.2bn.
It expects to allocate the next tranche in April 2012.
“Shareholders can expect that as IBM enters its second century we will continue to invest in new products and expand into new, emerging markets,” Palmisano said.